New Telegraph

Presidential Election:judiciary Lacks Strength Of Character To Right Wrongs –Galadima

We’ve not seen each other since the elections were held; should I say congratulations for your party’s victory in Kano State? Well, it is said that even if you’re in the mouth of a hyena, you’ll thank God because at least you’re alive to see it.

In reality, don’t you think it would have amounted to a waste of efforts if you didn’t win even one state? Yes. But God doesn’t reward efforts.

What does God reward? God rewards your lack. If you don’t know, know it from today. It is not how much you work that you’ll be given but how much lack that you have that counts. It will just come and you’ll meet the treasure on the road and pick.

Is that what you think happened at the last general election? No. We worked under very difficult circumstances more than any other party or candidate. All the parties were fighting us and calling us names. The clergy, including the Imams, were used against us from top to bottom. Tribally, everybody worked against us. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) worked against us; the press worked against us by suppressing us. Whatever we said we would do or have done they tried to ignore for no just reason.

I don’t think your accusation against the press is correct because I could remember that we looked for you and gave you coverage during the campaigns. Nobody acknowledged what we did but we thank God that we have arrived where we are.

What’s your general impression of the outcome of the election, especially the presidential election where your candidate was one of the front runners? Well, he is supposed to be the most competent of all the candidates because of his track record of performance in public service, in terms of education and credibility as a person.

He had everything going for him except two things – primordial sentiments and money. So they used that to compromise the structure of our party and some of our candidates who were taking money on the day of election and working for other people. So, you see how God works. You can never tell what will happen in the future.

The elections are over now but the aggrieved parties and candidates are challenging the results at the tribunal. Do you see these parties getting justice? No. I don’t see anything tangible coming out of the tribunal and that is why we in the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) didn’t file any petition at the presidential election tribunal.

We don’t believe that the Judiciary has got the strength of character to right the wrongs. People get the government they deserve. If you accept money to work for an idiot, you (yourself) are a bigger idiot than that person and that is exactly what the population has done.

What other lessons can we draw from the election? This election has been very good in one thing – it killed tribalism. Those who think that with tribalism, they can get there, they are finished. Those who think they can use religion to be where they want to be or get what they want will now think twice.

Next time, nobody will talk of tribe or religion. Even though, the religious leaders, both Christian and Moslem, tried to hijack the electoral process and make themselves relevant, by even playing God, they have been disappointed. Some people were swearing by God, that they have seen the future and that it is what they want that will happen, all of them got disappointed.

So, today, our faith in God has been strengthened because God says he can give power to whomsoever he wishes and take it away at whatever time or whenever he wishes. God didn’t say they will anoint a Muslim to be President or a Christian to be Governor. No. It is only himself, the God Almighty, that has got the powers to decide who becomes what and how.

So, all these people who think that they are religious leaders or whatever, God has disappointed all of them because all their calculations ran counter to the calculation of the Almighty. Today, God has established himself as the Alpha and Omega in making whosoever he wants to be what he will be. Today in Nigeria, no group can tell me that on the basis of tribe they can be President.

Today, no group can tell me that they can install a President on the basis of religion. None of that can happen. So, you people should forget about tribalism, forget about religion, let’s look for a good man who can do the job and take care of all of us.

What’s your impression of INEC’s role in this election? Do you think the electoral umpire did well? Disgraceful. It was a disgraceful outing for INEC but I will only comment on how it affected us in NNPP. From the word go, they fought us.

You mean INEC fought your party? Yes.

How? All parties were given a time limit to upload the names and particulars of their candidates to the INEC portal but three days to the closure of the portal they issued a statement on NNPP alone, announcing to every- one that we had not uploaded our documents.

What was their problem? They should have waited for the three days to expire. From that day, they blocked us from accessing the portal when less than half of our candidates had been uploaded. We took them to court, the High Court gave us a judgement that they should upload the names of all our candidates because in those three days, you can upload the names of 200 million Nigerians into a portal.

So it is not their problem whether we do it on day one or on the last day. We provided evidence of talking to each and every one of them that has got a say on the matter, including the Chairman. We did a transcript of our conversations with him where even the Chairman gave an instruction that they should open the portal for us.

Immediately they opened it, but before we could say Jack Robinson, they shut it down. So we took them to the Appeal Court, the Appeal Court gave us judgement and rebuked them. They went to the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court reprimanded them, yet they still didn’t give us equal opportunity during the election.

Even where we won elections, they wanted to upload the names of their favourites. Ibrahim Shekerau is a case in point. I think that because Mahmoud Yakubu worked as Executive Secretary at TETFUND when Shekarau was the Minister of Education, so he (Yakubu) was trying to make sure, maybe on the instruction of other people, that NNPP did not see the light of the day.

But he forgot that there are some governorship candidates of parties in Kaduna and Kano who after one month of the closure of the portal, joined political parties and all of their candidates were cleared and their names uploaded on the portal.

Would you say that INEC has lived up to its mandate as an independent and impartial umpire? I cannot with this experience; say in all honesty that INEC has done well. Of course, we were cheated. They made sure that our name, NNPP, did not appear on the ballot. There is nobody that has seen the name NNPP on any ballot paper.

That is exclusion. So with these instances, I don’t need to tell you whether INEC has performed creditably or not. You should read in between the lines. Our experience shows that INEC picks and chooses what to do, when to do things right and when to turn a blind eye when things are going wrong. It seems Mahmoud Yakubu deliberately refused to do what is right. Maybe he was compromised and he refused to do what was right. He is going out as a disgraced man.

You mean that even the ballot papers sent to Kano didn’t bear the NNPP logo? There is nobody that has seen the name NNPP in any ballot paper. They also made our logo defaced. For the ordinary people, they could not even identify our logo. Some people thought it was a map of Nigeria without colours; some other people thought it was a ship, while some people thought it was a heart.

Nobody was sure until we stepped out in Kano to tell everybody that number so-so-so on the ballot paper is supposed to be NNPP. We got what we wanted, but we lost 600,000 votes in Kano during the presidential election.

Why are you not challenging this particular issue of exclusion at the tribunal? We don’t need to go to court. We are statesmen. We are politicians. We are nationalists. Anything that will give a window to those who want to destroy this country, we will never let it happen. We will ignore such things because a lot of idiots, who call themselves big men in Nigeria, contacted us to cause trouble because they wanted an Interim Government.

For one year, they were working on that, so we never wanted to give them that opportunity. But the situation is simple. Let me tell you, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso is the only person in Nigeria today who can ask his supporters to come out on the streets and face soldiers with their guns and they will come out.

I can tell you that none of the other candidates can do that until they pay because to even vote for them, they had to pay for their votes. I also want to tell you that a lot of people allude to certain things they don’t understand. From 1999 to date, the voting population of Nigeria used to be 32 million or 34 million at every election.

But in the last election, less than 20 million people voted. So all the balance of 12,000,000 or 14,000,000 were Kwankwaso’ s sup- porters who could not identify the logo of NNPP. This was why the voting population came down. So, today, Kwankwaso is the hero of this election because he is the only person that did not campaign on primordial sentiments of religion, ethnicity and where people come from.

He is standing tall among his contemporaries even without winning the election.

What’s your assessment of the roles played by the security agencies in this election? Well, I know as a fact that they did better than they used to do. Not that there were no infractions this time, but if you compare what the present Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Farouk Yahaya did and what used to happen, you will congratulate him.

When something bad used to be at 100 and you bring it down to 10, it means you have achieved something. I know for a fact that some of his former colleagues who had left the military went to see him with bags of money in his house in an attempt to overturn the election in Kano. But he turned them down and vowed never to allow any individual or political party to compromise the election.

I also know that the Inspector General of Police, Baba Alkali also tried his best and the police have performed better than before. I should know that because I have been in this business for the last 45 years.

We are marching towards the May 29, handover date but disputes and controversies trailing the elections are yet to be resolved. How do you feel about this situation? Electoral disputes are never fully resolved before swearing in and this one will not be an exception. There will be a new President on May 29 while litigations will continue at the tribunals.

Some of us will continue to assess him (new President) and when he does not perform according to the expectations of Nigerians, we will hit him. We will hit him and his team. So, the social critics, activists, lawyers and others who are not happy about the election can hold their opinions but those opinions won’t change the handover date.

Secondly, those opposed to the swearing in of the President- Elect don’t have the kind of mass support to stage protests on the streets. The only politician in Nigeria that can do that today is Kwankwaso. If he asks for one million people to come out and die for him, without giving them a penny, they will do it.

You have seen that play out when the APC spent over N50 billion to take over Kano by force. Just imagine that about 20 million households were given boxes of Indomie Noodles, vegetable oil and what have you. Calculate that amount of money, yet they lost the election.

Would you support further amendments to our Constitution and Electoral Act to provide for the resolution of all election disputes before handover? It will never be done because our legal system is so cumbersome to the extent that it is impossible to handle cases now. It is not because of the election, but the legal system is a challenge.

You are given two weeks to file this and that, you’re given an- other three weeks to file that and by the time you finish all these, three or four months have gone. If we have to do all that before a new government is sworn in, it means we have to hold the elections at least one year before the hand over. It may not be possible. All I want to tell you is that the issue is not about our laws but ourselves.

In 2019 you were involved in a scenario where INEC denied that they had a server for storing results and this year, they’ve agreed to have a server but have refused to transmit the results electronically as prescribed in the guidelines. Don’t you think this is a major flaw on the 2023 elections? That is what it should be but the Judiciary can do nothing.

Rather, they will see how they can mess everybody up. The problem with the legal system in Nigeria is that they are looking for technicalities rather than looking for the truth and doing justice. When you bring your facts and put them on the ground, all that they will be looking for are the loopholes to dismiss you case. So, part of our problem is the judiciary.

If the Justices were upright and looking for the truth, this man will not win the election. There are people who don’t contest an election but are elected, thanks to the judiciary.

When you were going into this election how confident were you in the capacity of INEC to deliver on its mandate? We were very confident then be- cause we were deceived with the outcome of the elections in Anambra, Osun and Ekiti states. They used the BVAS in those elections and everybody thought we had gotten everything right. But they did it deliberately to deceive us.

The INEC people created the erroneous impression that things were normal and everything would run smoothly. All these elections can be done in one day and all of us; citizens should work for that to be entrenched in our laws. We should all come out and demand as of right that all the elections should be held in one day.

It is possible and has been done before during Gen Ibrahim Babangida’s time. Nobody should tell us that it is not possible because it was done before and smoothly too. There was nobody to influence another person’s voting because on election day, everybody will be fighting for himself and God for us all.

What kind of reforms will you recommend to help the electoral process? There is no need for reforms at the moment. What is needed is a change of heart to do what is right and the will to stand firm on the truth whether it affects you or affects your enemy.

What is your message to the president -elect who will be inaugurated on May 29, 2023? It’s simple. He knows me and I know him very well. I want to tell him that the same people who misled Buhari and who would ever want to be in government are hovering around him. Some of them are serial betrayers. They can never see anything good in what some people do to them.

They are still very much around; let him flush them out. Let him not allow any of them to take up a sensitive public office. I’ll also suggest, let him make them ambassadors and post them out of this country. We have a situation in Nigeria where individuals in some states of the federation are richer than their states and where some individuals in the country are richer than the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

It is a security risk to the nation that one person is wealthier than the government. It means such a person can raise an army for himself like the case in point now in Sudan where a rich man organised a militia that is trying to take over power by force. The guys that I have been talking about are dangerous.

They deceived everybody, starting from Atiku, Obasanjo to Buhari and now they are Tinubu’s paddy paddy people. But they are not his paddy paddy, they are saving their necks. Whatever they demand, he should not give them because he paid for his election. He gave them money. They have taken their share. Let them go.

Some of them should be posted to North Korea and some to Ukraine as ambassadors. They should not be allowed to roam freely in Nigeria because the kind of stupendous wealth that they have and the tricks they have learnt through the years are not good for the country. Tinubu should look at such persons and flush them out or they will mislead him as they misled Buhari and now Buhari will be paying for it.

They are the first people to start abusing Buhari’s family and they are the first people to take him to court. I pity Buhari because only God knows what they will do to him when he leaves office.

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